CHICAGO — An astonishing equalizer from junior Dayo Adeosun and a last-minute stunner from first-year Kyle Ruark yanked the University of Chicago men's soccer team from the brink of elimination as the Maroons seized a 2-1 come-from-behind victory against Carleton College on Sunday night at Stagg Field.
UChicago was unfortunate to fall behind in the first half when Carleton knocked in a free kick after a marginal foul call. The Knights, however, fought to the verge of the win with a fierce and organized defensive effort that chipped away at Maroon hopes as the game wore on.
All of that changed when Adeosun lit a firecracker in the 79th minute. Controlling the ball on the left side, he nudged it laterally to create a sliver of space and quickly drilled a low shot that hurtled into the far corner with a dizzying swerve.
Now abruptly level, the game rose to an equally thrilling conclusion in the 89th minute. Receiving a pass far on the right side, senior forward Matthew Koh pushed the ball past his defender with his trademark acceleration and turned a floating cross into the area. It sailed through a tangled mass of leaping players onto the boot of Ruark, who appeared from nowhere to slot the game-winner into net with authority.
The Maroons deflected a final Carleton shot and were able to celebrate as the final seconds ticked away.
The defeat at the hands of No. 3-ranked UChicago (16-2-1, 6-1 UAA) snapped a 16-match unbeaten streak for the Knights, who ended their season with a record of 16-2-3.
UChicago let loose 24 shots, with 11 on goal, as it took the offensive initiative throughout the night. The Knights, for the most part, were content to defend and pounce on opportunities as they arose, finishing with four shots on target and seven in total.
The game began with a clear-cut opportunity for the host Maroons in the second minute as sophomore right back Scott Lich chased down a wide ball and played it across to senior striker Max Lopez, who knocked a point-blank header into the keeper's feet.
Lopez nearly had the opener again in the sixth minute as Koh chipped a cross that found him streaking down the middle. Once again, however, the Carleton keeper reacted quickly to deny a well-placed effort.
While Carleton looked poised to mount dangerous counterattacks, the Maroons continued to produce chances as their fullbacks pressed high up the flanks. Koh almost broke free in the 14th minute when Lopez flicked one far ahead, but last-ditch defending held Koh off the ball until help arrived.
Matters took a sudden turn in the 27th minute when a well-defended Carleton attacker drew a whistle after losing control of the ball. This set up a free kick one step beyond the arc and Carleton uncorked a strike that careened down into goal off the underside of the crossbar.
Finding themselves in more urgent circumstances, the Maroons resumed their offensive but could not create many clear chances before the half, apart from a free kick that Koh swept just over the bar.
UChicago kept up the search for the tying score after the interval but the Knights packed their defensive line tight and rapidly closed down space. Senior left back Josh Scofield sent a promising ball across the face of goal in the 50th minute but it found no takers until Koh collected it beyond the far post and poked a pass to first-year midfielder Vicente Mateus, whose point-blank shot required a strong save.
As minutes ticked off the clock, the Maroons played more directly, but their efforts often ran into waiting Carleton defenders. Pressure still yielded opportunities, particular in the 69th minute as Lopez laid the ball off to sophomore forward Bryce Millington, who played Adeosun wide to the left. Adeson fired low at the near post but the diving Carleton keeper parried it out of play.
Lopez then put a header wide, followed by a shot on goal from some distance. Another look opened up as Adeosun swerved a free kick to the head of Millington, but his header flew off target.
Just as the Knights might have felt the threat receding, Adeosun caught nearly everyone by surprise with his rapid game-altering strike. Both teams chased the winning goal in regulation, with Carleton erupting on an especially dangerous break in the 84th minute. With extra time nearly a certainty, however, Ruark converted his last-gasp opportunity and kept the Maroons' season alive.
Sophomore goalkeeper Aaron Katsimpalis (16-2-1 record) collected three saves with one goal allowed in the winning effort.
The Maroons will next host a four-team sectional on Saturday-Sunday, Nov. 17-18. Their next opponent is Trinity University (Texas), with Luther College and University of St. Thomas rounding out the pod.
- Saturday, Nov. 17 @ Noon – Trinity (Texas) University at UChicago